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Latitude: 52.858 / 52°51'28"N
Longitude: -3.2534 / 3°15'12"W
OS Eastings: 315706
OS Northings: 329681
OS Grid: SJ157296
Mapcode National: GBR 6V.RVMB
Mapcode Global: WH78P.0F1B
Entry Name: Glas Hirfryn
Listing Date: 4 January 1966
Last Amended: 25 September 2003
Source ID: 646
Building Class: Agriculture and Subsistence
Location: In Cwmdu, at east side of the road through the valley of the Lleiriog.
Traditional County: Denbighshire
An early C16 date has been proposed for this house, though surviving evidence suggests that it acquired its surviving form in the early C17, an ambitious essay in timber-framing. In a modest remodelling in the C19, the façade was smooth rendered, and the windows altered to small-pane sashes. At some time, too, a further bay was added on the right-hand end in stone, and farm-buildings were added (or rebuilt) to the left. Abandoned during the C20 the building lapsed into dereliction, its downward progress recorded by RCAHMW. In 1952, traces of decorative herringbone framing were visible behind the render at first floor level; by 1966, the façade was entirely concealed by corrugated sheeting and the stacks had been reduced. By 1998, the right hand gable of the added stone bay had collapsed, bringing part of the original end wall with it. On inspection in 2002, its condition had deteriorated still further.
The house is at the right hand end of a long range, with later farm-buildings adjoining. Notwithstanding severe decay and the encroachment of vegetation, its general form remains discernible. It is a two-storeyed, 3-bay house, originally with a large lateral stack to the rear of the central bay (this now largely collapsed). Externally, rendering conceals a timber-frame, with massive jowled corner posts; the front and NE faces are jettied. Fine close-studding is visible from the interior, and earlier photographs recorded herringbone decorative framing in the first floor. Main doorway is offset from centre, into the right-hand bay. The windows, as recorded before collapse, were 16-pane sashes. Attached to the right-hand end was a lower stone bay (now collapsed) with small-paned casement windows and gable end stack. Attached to the left hand end of the house is a range of farm-buildings, of early-mid C19 date. These are stonework, partially rendered and comprise one bay (probably a lofted stable) with an open storage bay linking to a further range at right-angles, not fully inspected, but perhaps further stabling or cow-housing.
Partially collapsed on inspection in 2002, but previously recorded by RCAHMW.
It appears to have had a 3 bay plan, divided into two rooms, with the principal room to the left, and the entrance into an unheated room to the right. They remain divided by a timber-framed partition, with what appears to be C17 panelling lining it on the principal face. Now only the smaller bay remains intact: it retains an exceptionally fine ceiling with moulded beams and counter-changing joists; the roof structure (only partially visible with safety in 2002) is also intact in this bay - Peter Smith noted the presence of wind-braces. The principal room (latterly subdivided laterally) has suffered major collapse, but the deeply moulded beams and joists are still visible. As in the surviving room, there were counter-changing joists, and at the intersection of the main beams, a fine carved boss - this may yet survive underneath the debris of collapse. Formerly there was a lateral stone stack at the rear of this room. There was some evidence for the site of an early ladder stair (a trap-door indicated in the joist framing of the ceiling), but a later stair was provided to the rear of the right-hand bay.
Although in a severely derelict condition, it is clear from what does survive, together with the material in the National Monuments Record, that this has been an exceptionally fine house. It is characterised by its unusual plan (perhaps an early storeyed house marking a move towards renaissance planning) and by the quality of its carpentry, both in the exterior framing and in the interior ceiling detail.
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